The Indian telecom regulator on Tuesday said it has extended, till June 30, the last date of submission of comments on consultation paper floated by it on free data. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued a consultation paper on free data on May 19, inviting written comments from stakeholders by June 16 and counter comments by June 30. “On request from the stakeholders, the last for receipt of written comments and counter-comments have been extended up to June 30 and July 14 respectively, an official statement said. Also Read - Airtel 5G Mumbai trials show download speeds of 1.2Gbps, upload at 850MbpsAlso Read - Jio maintains lead in 4G download speed, Vi in upload in May: TRAI
The consultation paper was issued to explore model(s) that could achieve the benefits of offering free data while avoiding the ingenuity that the Differential Tariff Regulation is meant to prevent, the regulator said earlier. The model should facilitate the unconnected and under-connected consumer to become better connected and should not allow any telecom service provider (TSP) or large company to play a gatekeeper or biased role, the paper said.
“The model should use the principles of open, transparent and equal access to consumer services by all consumers and all businesses. TRAI believes that the proposed model should not hold back innovation and the opportunity to increase internet penetration and usage,” it added.
In a move seen as an endorsement of net neutrality, TRAI on February 8 said no to discriminatory pricing of data content. “No service provider shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content,” it had said in a much-awaited regulatory order.
On Thursday the sector regulator said: “After issuing the regulation, certain organizations represented to TRAI that though the regulation was necessary to prevent gate keeping function either by TSP, but there is a need to have some TSP agnostic platform which can facilitate app developer to promote their website by providing some incentive to user for making their website popular.
“Therefore, there is a need to enable smaller entrepreneurs to flourish without permitting gate keeping function in the hands of the TSPs and also to give the consumers more choices for accessing the Internet.” This consultation paper also delved into the matter of reimbursing the users.
It said: “The direct money transfer approach could be similar to the subsidy payment, for the domestic LPG connections, wherein the user pays for the connection like any other normal connection, and then the oil company or government pays the subsidy directly into his or her bank account.”